The role of toxic substances in sudden cardiac death

The role of toxic substances in sudden cardiac death / Benito Morentina, Luis F. Callado, Soledad García-Hernández, Andrés Bodegase, Joaquín Lucena. (Spanish Journal of Legal Medicin 44 (2018) 1 (January-March); p. 13-21)

  • DOI: 10.1016/j.reml.2017.05.005


The use of toxic substances is a main risk factor for sudden cardiac death. The most relevant toxic substances are the illegal drugs (especially cocaine), ethanol, tobacco, and doping substances. Additionally, several therapeutic drugs are able to increase the risk for sudden cardiac death. The aim of the present paper is to review the mechanism of action and the main pathological problems induced by toxic substances. Moreover, we provide epidemiological information, underlie the importance of a standardised forensic investigation, and discuss the role of forensic pathology in the prevention of this phenomenon. The possibility of consumption of any drug of abuse should be considered in any case of sudden cardiac death in adolescents, young, or middle-age patients, especially in men. In athletes the use of doping substances should be ruled-out. In patients under psychopharmacological treatment, the putative influence of these drugs should be borne in mind.

Original document


13 February 2018
Bodegase, Andrés
Callado, Luis F.
García-Hernández, Soledad
Lucena, Joaquín S.
Morentina, Benito
Other organisations
Centro de Investigación en Red de Salud Mental (CIBERSAM) - Spanish Research Network on Mental Diseases (CIBERSAM)
Hospital Universitario de Cruces
Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocío - Virgen del Rocío University Hospital
Instituto Medicina Legal y Ciencias Forenses de Sevilla
Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU) - University of the Basque Country
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Athlete deceased
Cardiovascular diseases
Health effects
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Scientific article
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Date generated
18 October 2021
Date of last modification
26 October 2021
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